Letshuoer Cadenza 12 Review: A Safe and Enjoyable TOTL

I really liked the S12 from Letshuoer but I’ve honestly had little interest in checking out some of their mid-range IEMs. When I was asked about checking out a future flagship, I was interested to see what they could produce given the hybrid setup and design I was told about. The Cadenza 12 is a 12 driver hybrid using a single dynamic driver and a mix of Knowles and Sonion balanced armature drives(11 in total). The Price for this shiny little IEM is $2299 MSRP and $2099 for pre-order at the moment. While I’ll have some thoughts on the price later on, time to get into the review!!

The Cadenza 12 can be picked up direct from Letshuoer or from Hifigo as well. I’ll be linking Letshuoer below.


Gear Used

IPhone 14 Pro Max with headphone adapter, THIEAUDIO V16 Divinity, EA Gaea, Hiby R6 III and SMSL SU-9 feeding the SP400 amp.

Looks and fit

This is a somewhat boring shell design to my eyes. I will note this is a high quality feeling shell with good balance in terms of weight both in the hand and in ear. The shell is titanium and is polished to a mirror finish. This has survived pretty well with over a month of heavy usage both at work and back home. I consider myself to be pretty gentle on my audio gear in general but I’m happy how well the finish has held up. The fitment was great and the nozzle has an intense ~90 degree bend but it fits perfectly in my ears with my preferred spinfit W1 tips. I think the nozzle is a little on the thicker side but I found no comfort issues when using it at work or at home for long periods of time(more than three hours at once). The weight in the ear doesn’t feel heavy and overall I like the comfort. This has definitely been one of my favorite fitting IEMs. I would have personally preferred a matte finish or dark polished color to offset the eventual scratches I will cause to the finish but I’m a little picky about this kinda stuff.

Isolation and sound leakage

This shell is darn close to a sealed design. It has one tiny pin hole vent per shell and I do my sound leakage test via holding my fingers on the nozzles and only listening from arms length for any volume leaking from the vents. In this case, barely any volume leakage even at my preferred volume. The passive Isolation is pretty good and with my ear shape, I barely hear any outside noise. I would say these would work great in quieter environments.

Packaging and accessories

So the leather looking box it comes in acts as a 4 way partition style carrying case which is pretty neat. When you open the box up, you’re greeted with the IEMs and a little mini envelope containing the basic warranty cards, cleaning cloth and a showcase of Letshuoer’s current IEM and dongle lineup. Under those we have the adjustable partition slabs and three different styles of tips included. We get some bass tips, balanced tips and some Symbio W looking tips. Which are the silicone outer material with memory foam inside. We also get a really awesome compact case that is wrapped in grey leather or leather like material. It locks in via magnet when closed and feels ultra nice and it’s not obnoxiously big and I’m a huge fan of this case. We also get a stand/slab design of the Letshuoer mascot. I don’t remember if this is supposed to be a dog or frog but still an interesting addition to have. Better than another typical waifu I suppose. I found the usefulness of the case and the included accessories(not including the mascot thing) very useful and I like that we're making the most out of the box it comes with instead of being wasteful.


These final impressions were done off the SMSL SU-9 connected to the SMSL SP400. These impressions are what the Cadenza 12 sounded like to my ears. This was also using the Spinfit W1 tips. I went with the W1 since they included a bunch of different style tips and while those were all fine, I got the best comfort as usual with the Spinfit tips and the W1 is my current favorite fitting tip for my ears. Things like ear tip selection and DAC/amp selection will produce different results and impressions vs what my ears hear on my specific gear.

The Cadenza goes for a safe and neutral-ish tuning. I would call this a neutral to warm tuning or even just neutral with a good bass boost type of tuning. The bass has really good impact/slam and it reaches down pretty low. The bass also has a fullness to the sound and doesn’t sound lean or thin which I always enjoy. I wouldn’t call this a basshead style of bass though. The bass just sounds strong but well controlled without any bleed into the mids. The mids are pretty accurate and this actually sounds pretty neutral. Nothing exciting from instruments and I found the speed and decay to be pretty average. I prefer this to a slower sounding set of mids. Vocals are very detailed and probably the star of the show here. Both male and female vocals come in fairly smooth but detailed. Vocals feel a little more intimate and I found they fill up a lot of the center stage and feel very natural. I was very happy with the performance here. The upper mids do have a slight boost and I find it extremely tasteful given my love and hate relationship with upper mids and IEMs. The upper mids sound fast and detailed as it breaks into the treble. This definitely helps as the treble is a little more safe and slightly relaxed sounding. The treble still sounds accurate and it pulls in details really well. It just lacks a little sparkle and bite. I think the decay could be a little faster up top in general. This does make the Cadenza 12 sound like it lacks just a little sharpness. I still find it sounds airy even though it’s not really boosted. Overall I really like this tuning. While maybe not special, I find it very good at everything I listen to. 


This is a pretty balanced soundstage to my ears. I find it's the widest and deepest sounding stage compared to what I have on hand IEM wise at the moment but since it’s a balanced stage, It lacks any neat effect when listening to music. I did find that the imaging was rather great and I had zero issues picking up on instruments with busy tracks. Including a few things I couldn’t pick up with a few of my mid $1K IEMs.


I don’t find the Cadenza 12 hard to drive and I would say it's about on average with other hybrid IEMs. It isn’t super sensitive either so I didn’t pick up any hiss from any of my balanced sources which is always enjoyable. I’m mostly using this on my SMSL stack and Hiby R6 III without any issues volume wise.

Stock cable

The stock cable has a half sleeve design. As someone who was a huge fan of older Null Audio cables that used half sleeve nylon cables, I absolutely love this design. It has a not overly stiff nylon sleeve up to the split which then exposes the really nice sleeved hybrid copper and silver strands. The plug is using the same quick swap style plug system Effect Audio and a few other companies use which is probably my favorite system currently. It requires you unscrew the plug housing and then the plug can be pulled out and swapped to other options. I prefer a strong locking system so this and DUNU’s QD plug system are my favorite. I really like the design and weight of this stock cable. I honestly wouldn’t swap them unless you had a preferred cable to pair to it.

Personal gripes with the Cadenza 12

I think my only two complaints with the Cadenza 12 are the shell design and price.

The shell is polished titanium so it will get scratched up from regular use which is a bummer for someone like me but others might not care. The shells slip out of my hands easily too after a few days due to the oils from my fingers and ears causing them to be slippery. Once again, a small complaint.

Finally, the biggest thing for me is the price. This IEM is getting a 5 star review since I genuinely enjoy the tuning and design but I’m still gonna complain about the price a little. I wanted the Cadenza 12 to launch at $2000 or right under $2K ideally. There are a few situations where the Cadenza 12 can actually be had close to my preferred price right now via pre orders till the 14th of March which will get it right at $2099. I do believe Letshuoer also does discounts for their VIP newsletter but I didn’t confirm whether those discounts work as well.

IEM comparisons

THIEAUDIO V16 Divinity

The V16 is my absolute favorite warm IEM and it performs really well for an all BA design. It however doesn’t quite meet the Cadenza 12 in terms of overall performance which is a real bummer since it’s a favorite IEM of mine. The bass is strong on both IEMs but the Cadenza 12 has more bass impact and it just sounds a little more engaging. The mids on both have a more neutral sound but I find the Cadenza has just a bit more accuracy from both the instruments and vocals. The V16 is just smoother all around in this region however. The upper mids on the Cadenza brings out a little more energy that the V16 can’t match. The Cadenza 12 can get a little hot if a song has an intense upper mid boost in the song which the V16 doesn’t have issues with ever. The treble on both are more relaxed but after A/B testing both back to back, the V16 sounds a little hazy and pulled back. I think this was what bummed me out. Both sound pretty close but the Cadenza 12 really excels in bringing in more details even though it doesn’t have a strong treble performance. Both are wider sounding but the V16 has more depth than width which make it sound unique on some tracks. The Cadenza is also very good, it just has a more balanced stage and does everything well. Both are extremely good IEMs in my book and if I had to choose between both, I would pick the Cadenza 12.

Effect Audio x Elysian Audio Gaea

The Gaea is almost half the price of the Cadenza 12 and both have very different attempts at tuning but I thought it would be a good comparison to another favorite of mine. The bass on the Cadenza sounds like a super clean basshead IEM when A/B tested against the Gaea and it’s quite a difference in tuning and DD driver performance. The Gaea isn’t bad at bass it just has a very controlled bass with decent impact on its own. The mids are way faster and sharper on the Gaea and the Cadenza 12 really goes for accuracy instead of perceived detail from enhanced speed.  The vocals on both are very detailed but the Cadenza wins with natural vocals. The upper mids are stronger on the Gaea but once we hit the treble the Gaea goes all in on speed, sharpness and treble energy. I think this works very well in helping with perceived detail retrieval given the $1.3k price of the Gaea. When it comes to overall detail retrieval and resolution however, the Cadenza 12 while not nearly as intense as the Gaea, really pulls in way more details over the Gaea. I find the Gaea a really neat IEM to listen to though.  The staging on both is good but the Gaea is like the V16 Divinity and it has a deeper staging so the unbalanced stage does give a neat effect on some tracks over the Cadenza 12’s balanced stage. 

Amping Combinations


I find the R6 III a somewhat neutral-bright source so I actually really liked this pairing overall. The lows are still strong and the mids sounded laser accurate. I found the vocals came off a little artificial at times with this pairing but it took effort to pick that out over other source gear. The R6 III has a small but noticeable “Sabre Glare” so it helped in this case by adding a little extra sharpness and spice up in the treble area which I found tasteful. Staging was about on par with my desktop impressions above.  I had no issues with volume and I was around 55/100 max volume on low gain via the 4.4mm jack. Overall I think this is a very good pairing with the Cadenza 12.


This stack is what I base my sound impressions on with every review. Do I think the Cadenza 12 needs a mid-higher end desktop setup to sound good? No in this case and while I did like this pairing overall, I think something even like a simple dongle will get you 85-90 percent of the way to a good performance out of the Cadenza 12. I consider anything above 32/99 volume on my SP400 amp harder to drive for IEMs and the Cadenza 12 sat around 26-28/99 volume so not hard to drive at all.

Overall thoughts

I think at the end of the day, anyone who listens to the Cadenza 12 will have the same reaction of “Wow! This is really good”. I do worry that most people who have lots of experience with higher end IEMs will come to the same conclusion I did…. Which is that the Cadenza 12 is really good and competitive but it’s not super unique sounding given the price and I believe this is simply due to the safe tuning they went with. I think this works really well as an all rounder and especially for the people who listen to a wide variety of music genres who don’t want to have multiple IEMs for each genre. This is very much a “buy it once and never worry about anything else ever again” type of IEM. While it may seem like I’m being harsh on the Cadenza 12, I really like this IEM and it has been one of my favorite IEMs in recent times. As such, it gets a full recommendation but I think price will be the big thing here. I would like to see this sell right at $2000-$2100 instead of the $2299 retail price it has now. This can be had for a little less during pre-orders but this still remains a really high priced first attempt TOTL(to me anyways). I’m hoping it sells well enough though and that it stays relevant for more than a month or two after the reviews start popping up. While not the most unique flagship, this does everything right and I’m very interested to see what Letshuoer can do next. Thanks for reading!!

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